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Oklahoma Joe Bronco Owners (or UDS’s too) I Have A Few Questions

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    Oklahoma Joe Bronco Owners (or UDS’s too) I Have A Few Questions

    I’ll be using my new Bronco this weekend for the first time. It’ll be the first time for me to use a drum smoker of any kind. After seasoning it I’ll be smoking some ribs on it.
    __1st question. I’ll be doing one, maybe 2 slabs of ribs first. Do you prefer hanging the ribs or using the grate? Much of a taste difference? If I decide to hang and want to sauce em, take them out and lay them in a pan to sauce, then put on the grate to finish right?

    __2nd question. I know with this model I can adjust the dampers for temperature control. If you’re using the hangers, where and how do you use a temp probe for checking the cooking temps? Since it’s a drum smoker and you’re hanging them, the temps will vary some from top to bottom....right? Just wing it on the temps? Use the supplied thermometer and try to get close to 225 - 250?

    __3rd question. The supplied heat diffuser. I know not to use it for grilling on the OJB, but how useful have you found it when hanging meat for smoking? How often and when do you use it? And will I need to cut a little off the ends of ribs when using it, so it doesn’t touch? Is there enough clearance for a full slab?

    __4th question. Has anyone tried replacing the supplied thermometer with a better, more accurate one? If I can find one that’s pretty accurate I’d like to use that instead of running an extra probe under the lid.

    Also, if you think of any other tips on using it, feel free to let me know. Thanks.
    Last edited by Panhead John; March 30, 2021, 03:17 AM.

    #2
    Got no answers, but I want to say, cool pickup, PHJ. I’d get a barrel, but I would have to put it at the bottom of the steps (wouldn’t want to put it on the deck), and it wouldn’t do anything the cookers I already have would do. Im always tempted. But when I can’t resist, I buy beef and pork and chicken instead.

    Comment


    • Panhead John
      Panhead John commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks. Lots better answer than those 2 smartaleks below. 👇🥸
      If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s for people to ask a serious question, then some wisenheimer comes in with some silly comment. I would never do that. 😉
      Last edited by Panhead John; March 30, 2021, 05:43 AM.

    #3
    Really?

    I'd take that thing and put a 30 gal trash bag in it. Push it to the side and start cookin in your new PBC.

    If you had done like some have suggested you wouldn't be asking these questions. All the answers are already here.


    PBC, PBC, PBC!

    Comment


    • willxfmr
      willxfmr commented
      Editing a comment
      Well, well, well. It seems we finally have you coming around to the idea that starting a fire in a garbage can isn't all that great of a cooking technique. Once you finally figure out that one FGC is the same as the next, look me up. I'll be glad to point you in the direction of a quality cooker that can poop a proper pellet.

    #4
    Hmm. hard to say. is this the model you got?

    Click image for larger version

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    it cooks like sh*t but it'll keep your beer warm!

    Comment


    • bbqLuv
      bbqLuv commented
      Editing a comment
      I was so embarrassed I felt flushed. Sure glad you toilet to me.
      Last edited by bbqLuv; March 29, 2021, 08:13 PM.

    • latenight71
      latenight71 commented
      Editing a comment
      Panhead John I found this song about us - https://youtu.be/eMUEeONaglQ

    • Panhead John
      Panhead John commented
      Editing a comment
      Great song.....Danny.

    #5
    John. I mention in my post at SUWYC that I used a Meater wireless temp monitor with my roto kit. I think one of these would be perfect for a barrel cooker. They monitor both meat temp and ambient cooker temp and send it to your phone. Worked really well. Might want check it out.

    Comment


    • Panhead John
      Panhead John commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes I saw that! Piqued my interest for sure. I might PM you later for a few questions. Thanks

    #6
    Panhead,
    In my UDS, styled after the original sized PBC, I would hang them for the entire cook. Initially, I would hang the full length, Baby Backs. Then I started splitting them in half, as the bottom would tend to overcook.
    I have a Thermaworks Smoke, one probe in the thickest portion of a rib, at the top and the other hanging close to the top for a general cook temp.
    I did not have a heat diffuser and never needed it, as the thermo dynamics of the cooker do not necessitate one.
    As Meathead states and I agree, you will receive greater accuracy with an accurate digital thermometer, such as the "Smoke".
    I never seasoned mine, I just started cooking.
    I recommend that you do not use the diffuser, as that will allow any juices to vaporize in the coal bed.
    Lastly, excessive amounts of wood chunks, chips or pellets for smoke will produce creosote due to incomplete combustion, as it "smolders".
    Any damper adjustment, mine only had one on the entering side, should be minimal. Large adjustments will result in corresponding temperature swings.
    Used correctly, a UDS or that style of cooker can produce good results.

    Comment


    • Panhead John
      Panhead John commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Chiller Phil I have a dual probe Thermo Pro Remote thermometer, which has been accurate for me. I’ve never relied on the factory lid thermometers before. I was just trying to run one less wire. I might check into Jfrosty27 suggestion on the Meater wireless temp. monitor.

    #7
    Quote "Also, if you think of any other little tips on using it, feel free to let me know. Thanks very much for your responses!"

    Remove the damper from the smoke stack. Slide a KBQ under it.

    Comment


      #8
      Congratulations on your new cooker! I don't burn my garbage, but it seem there are a fair few here that do, and they seem to really like the flavor. If I were you, I'd take a long stroll through the PBC channel as well as the OJB thread. I have to believe that there are enough similarities between the two for the information to be transferable. This all of course assume you actually have a new cooker. Without photographic evidence, it's just speculation.

      Comment


      • Clark
        Clark commented
        Editing a comment
        Panhead John You didn't see any answers because you are the first person to every buy one of those things.

      • Uncle Bob
        Uncle Bob commented
        Editing a comment
        For all that I like to poke fun at the PBC crowd most here are accomplished outdoor cooks so their methodology is often insightful. Not so much (though a little) the fuel management stuff they need to do to exercise some level of temp control, but more the cooking processes. Good suggestion that.

      • Panhead John
        Panhead John commented
        Editing a comment
        Clark Work on your spelling (every?) and go back to your Wildflower viewing. 😂

      #9
      Hanging or flat on the grate depends on a few variables. Since rib slabs aren't the same size typically some might hit the coals without the deflector if long enough. Trimming and "choking up" on the hook location at the top are a couple ways to cope. Cutting the slab in half is another. For all that getting tips for methods is helpful, in the end your personal satisfaction is the subjective judge. If only doing one or two slabs shortly after acquiring the cooker it might be useful to just use the method you're most familiar with if the desired results are critical. Or, depending on the power level of your sense of adventure, hang away first time out the gate and see what happens.

      BTW, the deflector is quite useful in grilling mode as it is one of the ways to give the fuel bin a higher platform to emulate a more familiar grilling orientation.

      As for the factory thermometer, it's a typical bi-metallic type so doesn't have the accuracy of a quality electronic device. Mine are reasonably accurate, but that is probably colored by my lower expectations. Over on the FB Bronco channel I see lots of people throwing stones at the original thermometer for accuracy issues, but I laugh because they ar comparing it with the probes in two different locations, sometimes a foot and a half apart. They are clueless about thermodynamics. My advice is to observe/record what the factory thermometer reads vs what your electronic reads where you choose to locate the probe, and then rely on the mechanical gauge as a "reference" tool rather than an absolute reading.

      As for the few users of the OJB on here that's a matter of insufficient enlightenment. Are you a Beta male who follows trends, or a Sigma male who does the independent mambo?

      Comment


      • Panhead John
        Panhead John commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for your helpful suggestions, again. Yeah, I was gonna do a comparison with my digital probe and the factory thermometer, in the same area. My thinking was, I don’t need an absolute temp., but if it’s close enough for a reference, I’ll be able to work with that. Sigma male. I’ll listen to others as a “reference”, toss out the stupid, then make my own adjustments. 👍

      • Soonerpop
        Soonerpop commented
        Editing a comment
        So, the factory thermometer is bi-metallic. But what does it identify as?

      #10
      Paging FishTalesNC to this thread, as he has the Bronco and can comment on Panhead John 's questions.

      Comment


        #11
        Glad to see the stickheads aren't throwing splits at you in this thread Panhead John. Nice choice on the Bronco. If I didn't already have a PBC I would have done the same and if I had the space would get one anyway. And for what it's worth IF I did have a Bronco I'd hang a temp probe from an unused hanger and leave the diffuser in.

        Comment


        • Panhead John
          Panhead John commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks cgrover60 I’ve been reading up for a while now on the OJB thread to get myself familiar with it before my first cook this weekend. That’s a good idea to hang the probe, if not using the cooking grate. And from what I’m reading most people are using the diffuser plate. I put my hands on a display model yesterday at Academy. The build quality is impressive. If it cooks as good as everyone says it does, this puppy is a steal at $300. I’d seriously consider buying this at $450.-$500.

        • ofelles
          ofelles commented
          Editing a comment
          Panhead John Am I to late, I have a new in box for $499 as is you PU.

        • Clark
          Clark commented
          Editing a comment
          Panhead John Those barrel cookers must be good. I saw a movie this afternoon and a bunch of homeless people were gathered around one in a snowstorm.

        #12
        Congrats on the purchase Panhead John I absolutely love cooking on mine every time I use it, its a pleasure.

        1st Answer: I usually just use the grate with ribs, but that is mostly because the 3 of us typically eat just one rack. I do notice a little difference in taste when hanging vs. grate because when hanging the one end gets close to the charcoal basket and gets a bit more of a grilled flavor. I like both flavors. If I were cooking 2-4 racks I would cut them in half and hang the halves. No need to put on the grate after saucing, just re-hang - with a half rack there isn't enough weight to worry about them dropping. If cooking more than 4 racks I'd just hang full racks and happily gnaw on that last one that gets charred. Here's a link to a thread where I hung three racks of STLs.

        2nd Answer: See link above, in there I included pics that'll show how I draped the ambient temp probe. I usually try to have the probe hang roughly midway down the meat. I do not rely on the included thermometer.

        3rd Answer: Incredibly useful. Other barrels I've cooked on that don't have a heat diffuser end up with "hot spots" in the charcoal basket leading to meat that is overcooked in some spots if you don't turn your grate. The diffuser solves that and your meat cooks more evenly. I use it every single time I can when smoking, but if you're hanging full BBs or STLs in my experience they're too long to use it. But for half racks (problem solved!), pork tenderloins, turkeys, etc. there's plenty of room to use it. I also noticed no difference in taste being that the drippings usually hit the diffuser rather than the charcoal itself, still get that good tasting smoke fog. In fact, in other barrels I'd run into issues if I was hanging 3 chickens - they'd end up trying to douse the fire with their drippings and the diffuser also solves that issue. Not sure though why you think you don't use it in grilling mode tho... use it, but flip it upside down and it raises your charcoal basket MUCH closer to the cooking grate. Here's a link to a thread where I front seared a tri-tip in grilling mode, its got a pic showing how close the charcoal basket gets to the grate when you do it this way. I also sorta talk about my process for flipping from grilling mode to smoking mode mid-cook - its pretty easy, love that the Bronco can do both on the same load of charcoal.

        4th Answer: Nope. No issues running the probe under the lid, it comes with a gasket installed so it won't pinch the wire.

        Only other thing I can think to offer up is some lighting tips, and I put some in this thread here. Honestly I find it a breeze to use and the food that comes off is outstanding. Good luck, I think you're going to love it!

        Oh, I lied, one more... don't go too heavy on the wood until you've had a handful of cooks. IMHO you can over-smoke on a barrel style cooker if you add too much wood given the added "smoke fog". I typically only use 2 chunks for a long smoke and that works for us.

        Comment


        • Panhead John
          Panhead John commented
          Editing a comment
          FishTalesNC Thanks for taking the time to help with my questions. When I first posted these questions I hadn’t really read up very much on the OJB, thus my ignorance about the diffuser. But you’ve given me some great advice which is going to be very helpful. I didn’t know there was actually an OJB thread here, but after finding it I read all of your and other’s posts about it. All your answers tonight are useful and much appreciated. Thanks
          Last edited by Panhead John; March 31, 2021, 07:11 PM.

        • FishTalesNC
          FishTalesNC commented
          Editing a comment
          No worries, glad to help, hope you dig it as much as I do! 👍🏻

        #13
        I added the thermometer below to my PBC. It can be adjusted so it reads very close to my digital thermometers I use when cooking. It is handy to have an accurate dial thermometer to see when checking out the PBC. I would do it again.
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